Just for fun – Dressing for speaking success? For men only

Cleaning out my inbox I discovered this graphic in an email from the beginning of last year.

Do you live in the UK or US?

Does this ring true? …

and …

does it matter?

Your opinion in the comments may just mean the difference between success and failure for an international speaker!!

T-M-Lewin-Infographic_600px
This infographic is supplied by T. M. Lewin

Public speaking lessons from a quarry makeover

We are incredibly blessed to have an environmental park just 50 metres from our home. I am grateful to old George Swanston, our local Council representative more than twenty years ago, who fought to have it gazetted as such, and not given over to developers. We now have a backdrop of trees from our house and access to beautiful walking tracks and scenery.

At our particular entrance to the park is a disused quarry – huge sandstone cliffs where blocks of stone were removed. It has been shored up, but part of it remains rather unstable and in times of heavy rain, boulders are sometimes dislodged. It is now a beautiful, serene place.

The piece of landscape I focussed on this morning, though, had me thinking …

quarry_ps

This is the wall the park-keepers have created to protect the walking path from falling boulders.

And it reminded me of constructing a speech (possibly because I’m currently putting together a workshop on the subject!)

See the wire netting they have used to make sure the stone wall stays in place?

Sometimes I feel like I am in need of such a cage – something to keep the whole speech together and tight and effective – not allowing ideas to escape out of the structure I want.

We collect such a miscellany of thoughts, and knowledge and experiences and opinions and do our best with them. We sort them and discard those that will not support the message we want for this particular audience. We build them into a structure that will work for this presentation. It will be strong. It will work to make the message flow and shape so that the audience follows it easily without too much awareness of its existence. It will look and feel good to ourselves as we present, giving us confidence in the whole.

And that’s what they have done with these stones in this wall. They collected a huge number, and sorted out the ones that will fit and that are of a similar size so that they can be stacked into a shape. They built them into a structure that will protect the walkers here on the path, without intruding into the flow of their walk or run. And I suspect they are rather proud of their final construction.

And yet …

They had to put the net around it. Was it not built well enough?

Perhaps they did not have a proper dry-stone wall person. Perhaps it is not finished and they intend to replace it or cover it with concrete or such.

The question remains … though I am so happy people are taking care of the park and making it safe.

And yet…

These grey stones are not native to the area – well not in evidence anywhere around. They are imports. The whole structure seems alien.

Did you ever feel that about a speech?

Maybe it didn’t align with your passions. Maybe you were presenting someone else’s material. Maybe you’ve seen a speaker who had found the audience was not as they expected, or the speech just didn’t belong in the event, either subject-wise, or energy-wise.

Still I am grateful.

Returning from my walk, I follow the little side street and in front of me, at the end of the street, is this beautiful tree.

jacaranda

It belongs (though it was planted there).

It has its own natural shape. Nothing constrains it (though it was pruned – many years ago).

It is beautiful.

Is this what it feels to present a speech so that it feels like it belongs, so that it feels natural, unconstrained, and we can feel its beauty?

The speaker’s own energy and authentic passion,

constructed for this audience and their needs and wants and values,

suitable to the event, aligned with its intent and vibe.

I wish you (and me) many more trees … and many more speeches that give as much pleasure and satisfaction.